“We had entered into a confidentiality agreement weeks ago but, in my personal opinion, they bottled it”, said Garry Cook to BBC Radio upon his Kaka-less return from Milan. It didn’t end there. Having uttered his petulant sideswipe in the direction of Silvio Berlusconi and AC Milan, he was also less than complimentary about Kaka’s advisors, seeming to not quite be able to come to terms with the fact that, ultimately the Brazilian didn’t want to join the Manchester City “project”. He seemed to think that they were incapable of understanding the scale of what he had to offer. The fact that a footballer might, ultimately, make a decision over who he plays for on the basis of footballing reasons doesn’t even seem to have entered his head. Ultimately, it made for a rather pathetic spectacle. A multi-millionaire (even if it’s not his own money) spurned. It’s coming to something, however, when someone comes along that manages to cede the moral highground in a tug of love contest to Silvio Berlusconi, of all people.
Cook, of course, has form for this sort of self-aggrandising nonsense. Many of you will remember his calls for the Premier League to be reduced to ten clubs with no promotion or relegation, even though a place in the top ten of the Premier League (or First Division) is something that City have managed just six times in the last twenty-five years. Cook, you’ll need no reminding, comes from Nike, but his comments make one wonder how someone with from a public relations background could show such a lack of self-awareness and so little understanding of how football works. Every chairman of every major club in Europe will have noted Cook’s lack of grace and seen it for the insufferable arrogance which it is. They will have resolved, in a thrice, that they will life as difficult as possible for this upstart, if he comes after any of their players. He could have merely said how disappointed that they were that they couldn’t lure one of the worlds great players away from one of the worlds great clubs. Instead, he insulted the club and the representatives of the player, one of whom was the player’s father.
None of this should be interpreted as “City bashing”. There are those, amongst their support, who can’t wait for the top class players to start flooding in and the trophies to start stacking up. There are others who think that they may be about to enter the last days of Rome so they may as well enjoy it while it lasts, and there are those who are either deeply concerned about such an unsustainable financial model or who feel that this Manchester City isn’t the club that they know and love any more. Each of these groups of people are fully entitled to their opinions, no matter how misguided others may think they are, but they all have one thing in common. When their club is entering into transfer negotiations under the spotlight of the world’s media, they, as supporters, are being represented as well. We should dissasociate the behaviour of the management of the club from the supporters of the club. Those supporters should, however, pause for thought and consider how this reflects up them. Is the sort of behaviour demonstrated by Garry Cook this week the way that they, by extension, wish to be perceived?